Roundup: Tennessee Bill a “Preemptive Strike” Against Including Abortion in Future Healthcare Exchanges

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Roundup: Tennessee Bill a “Preemptive Strike” Against Including Abortion in Future Healthcare Exchanges

Rachel Larris

Tennessee looks to be the first state to try passing legislation to "opt-out" of including abortion coverage in health insurance exchanges while Hillary Clinton in Canada reiterates that you can't have "maternal health without reproductive health" which includes access to abortion.

What was often ignored by those that opposed passage of the healthcare reform bill was that, in addition to all the steps taken to make certain that nothing that could be remotely construed as public funds would be used to pay for abortion services, that states also had the right to opt-out of even taking those steps by not including insurance plans that covered abortion.

Therefore we’ll expect to see as many as 50 state legislative battles about whether states will include plans that cover abortion. Tennessee looks to be the first to try passing such legislation even if the health insurance exchanges won’t start till 2014.

Kingsport Times News reports:

Tennessee would opt out of using state tax money to pay for abortion services in state health care exchanges under legislation passed on a voice vote by the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday.

Roe has collapsed in Texas, and that's just the beginning.

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The bill is sponsored in the House by state Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough.

Health exchanges were included in the health care reform bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, asked Hill for an explanation of the bill and pointed out abortion restrictions were already in the health care reform bill.

“The state has to take action on it to opt ourselves out of it so our tax money isn’t used for (abortion),” Hill told Naifeh.

State Rep. Eric Swafford, R-Pikeville, asked Hill if his bill was a “preemptive strike” for what could happen with health care reform.

“I think it is partially that as well as also an option given to each individual state by the federal (health care reform) legislation,” Hill answered.

State Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, noted Hill’s legislation had broader language prohibiting coverage for abortion services under “any health care plan” related to federal reform legislation.

“It seems that this legislation, because of what has been done at the federal level, I think is premature and probably not necessary,” she told Hill.

“I would respectfully disagree with that,” Hill responded. “I feel it is extremely necessary because … we can continue to ensure our Tennessee tax money does not go to fund abortions at the federal level.”

In Other News

 Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had some pointed words about abortion in Canada yesterday. The Toronto Star reports:

“You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health and reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortions,” Clinton said Tuesday.

“I do not think governments should be involved in making these decisions. It is perfectly legitimate for people to hold their own personal views based on conscience, religion or any other basis. But I’ve always believed that the government should not intervene in decisions of such intimacy,” she said.

The remarks were seen as Clinton weighing in Canada’s recent controversy over whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s maternal and child health initiative at the G8 summit this year would include access to both contraception and abortion.

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